Patriots owner Bob Kraft wants an apology when Ted Wells concludes his investigation if the NFL can’t back up with facts the innuendos leaked from the league.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs,” Kraft told reporters in a surprise appearance at a Super Bowl press event in Arizona, “I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular, coach [Bill] Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week.”
Observers dubbed the initial statement from Kraft on the matter as insufficiently supportive of his star player and coach, and overly deferential to the league. On Friday, Kraft said he supported “the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation” and welcomed “the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process,” but stayed silent on Brady and Belichick.
Kraft now laments that the Deflate-gate story “has been driven by media leaks as opposed to actual data and facts.” As a result, “many jumped to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.”
For instance, an initial leak maintained that 11 of 12 balls supplied by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game tested as precisely two pounds per square inch below the minimum mandated by the NFL. Mike Florio of Pro Football now reports that 10 of those 11 balls contained closer to 1 pound per square inch below the minimum.
Ted Wells now says that his investigation will last at least several more weeks.
“I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon,” Kraft divulged. “We expect hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to draw a conclusion of this investigation.”